SaH: Lava Lamp

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Groovy! You will be playing with a water and oil mixture to create a no-heat-needed- Lava Lamp! Make observations of the interactions of these two liquids and leave a comment with the picture of the final product.



How does water and oil interact?



  • Empty bottle or jar
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Food coloring
  • Alka Seltzer Antacid Tablets
  • Flashlight (optional)


What to Do

  1. Fill the empty container about 1/3 full of water.
  2. Fill the remaining part of the container with vegetable oil, but leave at least an inch or two of space at the top.
  3. Make observations about the interaction of water and oil.
  4. Add a few drops of food coloring to your bottle. They should fall through the oil and color the water layer below.
  5. Break up a tablet of Alka Seltzer and add it to the bottle. The water will start to bubble and create a lava lamp effect. Enhance the excitement by turning off the lights and shining a flashlight through your container.
  6. You can repeat this experiment multiple times… Just wait for the oil and water to settle again and add more Alka Seltzer tablets!


What is Happening?

When the Alka Seltzer and water tablets mix, they cause a chemical reaction to occur. Bubbles of carbon dioxide gas and created and are carried through the layer of oil until they pop toward the top and the water droplet is left to fall back to the bottom of the bottle.

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We here at the Reading Science Center understand that these are unprecedented times. as such, we wanted you to know that we are taking the following precautions until further notice:

  • We have an air scrubber (Vollara) that we use in the Center
  • We have deep cleaning complete weekly 
  • Sanitizing every three hours using MICROBAN Sanitizing spray
  • Hand Snaitizer is readily available throughout the Center
  • Masking is required regardless of vaccination status
  • Limiting Hours (No Tuesdays until February)
  • Temperature Checks and an illness questionnaire
  • We respectfully request that if you or a family member with you is feeling under the weather, you visit us another time.  
  • If we need to close, we will post on Social Media as soon as we have made the decision

Thank You and we look forward to you and your family visiting the Reading Science Center!